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Wildflowers and Waterfalls, Hike These Trails Before They are Gone!

Flowers on a trail
The view along the Wishbone Trail in Westlake Village

It should come as no surprise to anyone that our rainy spring has resulted in some truly spectacular hiking opportunities not only across the state, but right here in our own backyard. Creeks that typically run dry are bursting with glistening runoff, and once brown fields are in full bloom with an array of colors. Unfortunately these conditions are fleeting, so if you have been wanting to hit the trails, now is a prime time to go before these gifts from nature fade. Here are our top picks for local hikes that are not to be missed right now!

Wildflower Hikes

Wildflowers can be found on pretty much all of our local hikes right now, but these trails truly stand out. Please remember to STAY ON THE TRAIL, and that mother natures bouquet can't be beat, so there is no point in picking them. Leave flowers as you found them so all can enjoy their beauty.

wildflowers with quote

Wishbone Trail

Location: 31105 E Thousand Oaks Blvd, Westlake Village

Distance: 2 mile loop

Elevation Gain: 520 feet

Difficulty: Mostly easy with some moderate uphill

Cost: Free

The trailhead for the Wishbone trail can be found just past the last baseball field at the Yarrow Family YMCA. After crossing over a tiny bridge from the parking lot to trail, you will immediately start ascending the hill. The most intense of the climbing happens in the first few minutes, so don't get discouraged. While most of this hike has you on an upward trajectory, the majority of it is quite gradual and not strenuous. From the trail you will witness sweeping views of the Conejo Valley and Santa Monica Mountains, and of course, find yourself surrounded by wildflowers the entire way. If you have every dreamed of being engulfed by a tunnel of blooms, this hike is a must do!

We hiked Wishbone in the evening around 6 pm and felt it was the perfect time. This trail is typically in full sun, but at that hour it was behind the hills almost the entire time. The only downfall going at that time was the small smattering of poppies had closed up for the day and bugs were out in full force. Take bug spray. We believe leashed dogs are allowed on trail, but do your due diligence if you wish to take Fido. You can find more information on this trail here.

wildflowers over the YMCA

Point Magu Scenic and Overlook Trails Loop

Location: Sycamore Canyon Road, Malibu

Distance: 2.7 mile loop, can be added to

Elevation Gain: 425 feet

Difficulty: Easy

Cost: $10 to park in the Big Sycamore Day Use Area, or free along the PCH

We've not yet had the pleasure of experiencing this hike for ourselves, but consider it added to our list. Afterall, it is hard to beat wildflowers combined with ocean views, that's a true power couple right there. Per reviews on AllTrails, wildflowers were abundant just 2 weeks ago, so they are likely still out in force. Sorry, no pups allowed on this trail. You can find a firsthand account of hiking this trail here.

Ocean views with wildflowers
Full transparency: not our photo, we borrowed it from AllTrails

Waterfall Hikes

TLC had it wrong when they told us to "don't go chasing waterfalls", clearly they didn't know what they were talking about. We say chasing waterfalls is the pathway to true happiness. The never ending deluge that was February and March filled our dry creek beds with a gift that is continuing to give in the form of majestic waterfalls. But if you want to see these rare beauties you better act fast; there is no telling how much longer the water will flow!

Waterfall with quote

Escondido Falls

Location: 27807 Pacific Coast HWY

Distance: 3.8 mile Out & Back

Elevation Gain: 534 feet

Difficulty: Easy, but considered moderate because of length

Cost: $12 if you park in the lot, free along PCH

Beautiful waterfalls and views of the ocean along the way? Sign us up! This hike is thoroughly enjoyable, and a can't miss. A good portion of the distance is actually spent walking through a neighborhood to get to the trailhead. Not the prettiest, but a small price to pay for the end result. Once you come to the actual start of the hike the real fun begins. You'll weave in and out of groves of trees and cross the stream several times before arriving to the lower fall.

At approximately 50 feet tall it is quite beautiful and you can leave happy with your hike ending there, but to be truly wowed we recommend braving the scramble to the upper fall. Getting to it is not the easiest; calling it a scramble would be an understatement. It is a literal crawl in spots, and we cannot recommend proper footwear enough (these are our go-to hiking shoes, their grip is unparalleled). For those of you willing to brave the course, you will be rewarded with a 150 foot stunner that you will likely have to yourself, because yes, getting there really is not for the faint of heart. We recommend you read this article before going. Leashed dogs are welcomed.

The Grotto

Location: Circle X Ranch, 12896 Yerba Buena Rd, Malibu

Distance: 2.7 Mile Out & Back

Elevation Gain: 570 feet

Difficulty: Trail part easy, scrambling part moderate

Cost: Free

This is a fun one! If you only get around to one of these hikes, let this be the one. The views were endless, and the bouldering was just a good time. And walking behind a waterfall? Cross that off my bucket list.

Keep your eyes and ears open along this hike, there are bonus waterfalls tucked in-between the mountains along the way, and you will even walk right over the top of one. The path is easy to follow, and the elevation gain is so gradual that you mostly don't feel the climb. You'll know you are getting close to the bouldering portion of the hike as the creek crossings become more frequent. It takes quite a bit of bouldering to reach The Grotto, you'll know you made it when you have found a waterfall large enough to not only walk under, but around. We highly recommend braving the cold water to explore the lush greenery of the grotto beneath the fall. There is a peace and tranquility there that can only exist in such an exquisite space. Dogs are allowed on this hike, but we wouldn't recommend bringing them unless they are experienced hikers. The bouldering will be too intense for most weekend warrior pooches.

This is a good article to read before you head out on this hike, as is this one. Now hurry out there before this fall dries up!

The Best of Both Worlds

It's a waterfall

Why chose between wildflowers and waterfalls when you can have both? Paradise Falls needs no introduction, and if you hit the trail now you'll get to see not only the waterfall, which flows year-round, but you'll find yourself surrounded by one of the most spectacular wildflower displays in the area!

Location: Wildwood Park. 928 W Avenida De Los Arboles, Thousand Oaks

Distance: 2.55 mile Loop

Elevation Gain: 260 Feel

Difficulty: Easy

Cost: Free

If you haven't already hiked Paradise Falls this year, now is a prime time to see it. And if you have never done this hike, let this be your final push to do so. Given its ease and location, the trail can get quite crowded, but don't let this deter you from experiencing it. The trail itself is easily adapted to your adventurous whims; we enjoy including the cave for a fun detour, and last time we went we opted to walk along the creek for a ways before coming up to the fall. Leashed dogs are welcome. To learn more about this hike click here or visit here.

waterfall and flowers

With great power comes great responsibility, please always treat trails with nothing but love and respect. You can learn more about the tenets of Leave No Trace by clicking on the link, and keep in mind that rattlesnakes and other creatures call these trails home. We are the visitors.

Brought to you by:

Jessica Carter l DRE #01490419 l 818.590.4246 l

"Your Fountainwood neighbor and local area specialist"

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